To Be Or Not To Be, Only Lordi has the answers - Mr Lordi speaks out.
Finland has it's fair shares of either atmospheric music or extreme music one way or another and things changed when Lordi it the scene. Having hit the scene back in 92 and with the bands debut album in 97 with 'Bend Over and Pray The Lord' was a demo album which got the attention of BMG in Finland and it was soon the band would sign in 98 and the bands debut full length album 'Get Heavy' was recorded in 2002, shocking the Finnish scene and the rest of Scandinavia. I guess Finland were not ready for this shock horror yet but Lordi certainly shocked and delivered. Having appeared on Eurovision in 2006 saw the band pretty much make a name for themselves. I managed to chat with main man Mr Lordi recently about the new album and the past, here is what he had to say. In the meantime check out their new album on AFM titled 'To beast or Not to Beast'.
As this is the 1st interview I have done with Lordi it is a pleasure speaking to you Mr Lordi, hope all is well with you and the band. I would like to start the interview off by asking you how the whole idea of forming Lordi came to be?
"Well the 1st demo was done in 1992 which was the birth place of the band and the next progression for the band would be between 94/96 but it depends on how you look at it. At that point it was just me as a 1 man project with a couple of friends coming in and out doing like guitar solos and in about 94/96 it became a band. It was later on in about 2002 I had been sending demos out for the last 10 yrs to various record labels and we ended up getting a record deal. I was also a singer in another band in the area of Finnish Lapland but I ended up doing my own song as I felt I had to get them out of my system one way or another and here I am now with Lordi."
As a singer who are you're influences and how do they reflect in your music?
"Well I would have to say UDO from U.D.O. , ex Accept is one of my main influences and I also like Alice Cooper, and Gene Simmons and you could also ad Dee Snider & King Diamond and later on Rob Zombie but I love singer with lots of personality's and a lot of rasp ness in their voices. I even like Cronos from Venom, I love his voice and that is a cool fucking voice (laughing), and if that is not a satanic voice I don't know what is??"
As you were doing the band from the beginning did the costumes come later after the music or did they just come together at the same time?
"Well in 92 there were no masks etc... and I made a video for a song back in 92 at that time and in 94 I gathered all my friends ti be made up as zombies for the video and I was the only one that was not made up. It didn't look right in the video and so I decided that I needed to be made up as well. I was looking at the final video and I just looked stupid without any masks for costumes so we re did the video and I wore a mask and costume. It's rather strange been a Kiss fan all my life and a horror fan too and for me to be in a band I needed to look cool. It still blows my mind how I did the band without any masks is beyond me."
On average how long does it take to put the costumes on before a show or photo shoot? Does it get extremely hot and is it hard when you need the toilet?
"Well it depends on the band member, our new drummer Mana he gets away with it in 5 minutes as he is at the back and for the rest of the band, especially me it takes 3 hours, of which takes 2 and half hrs for the face alone. It does get very hot in the costumes its like wearing a full body condom and rubber doesn't breath. (laughing) The 1st costume I had made I needed the toilet and I did something which I had to leave until the end of the show, rather embarrassing to say the least."
The band like any have had line up changes, this time around you're previous keyboard player Awa left the band to be replaced by Hella. Why did Awa leave the band?
"Well Awa said last February that she was leaving the band but we didn't announce it until last July and we knew she was leaving so we got Hella in the band in May of last year. Awa left because she moved to Italy with her Italian boyfriend, and it became too much for her to travel to Finland for tours and rehearsals and she traveled alone and it became a nightmare for her and it started to drain all the energy out of her. She wanted a new life and a new job in Italy and she knew she could not give the band 100% so she left the band. The band are only as strong as the rest of the band and if there is a leak link the band wont be able to give it their 100% attention."
Is Lordi a full time job and do you make a living out of it?
"Yes it is a full time job, it has been for the last 10yrs and I do make some kind of a living out of it (laughing)."
Moving on..., I really didn't realize how many albums the band have recorded been signed to Sony/ BMG (Finland), so how did the deal with you're new label AFM come to be? You have The End Records in the U.S. as well.
"Well the funny thing is that we originally signed a deal with BMG Finland then it became Sony/ BMG and they then licensed the albums out to other labels like Sanctuary & The End and now AFM & Gun in the past. Our mother label has always been in Finland even if they have licensed it to other countries ad it's all good so far."
So let's talk about the new album 'To Beast Or Not To Beast', interesting name, who came up with the title and cover art for the album?
"Well the album was originally going to be called 'Up Gradead' that was the original title but we changed it at the last minute when Amen came up with the 'To Be Or Not To Be...', and yes we are very happy with the end title of the album. I came up with the original title of the album and I am ashamed for it (laughing). Well the artwork is great, I do all the masks and costumes, album covers, t shirts etc... and graphics for the band and I did the artwork for when it was called 'Up Gradead' and at that point the artwork did not look that good so I started to experiment with different artwork. So in the end I just used the girl as a vintage pin up girl holding a skull and I showed that to Amen and he didn't understand the difference between the artwork and title of the album. He said it looked like Hamlet 'To Be Or Not To Be'. So we messed around the the title so it would look better with the artwork and 'To Best Or Not To Beast' suited the album. I am a control freak when it comes to the bands interests."
So how would you compare the new album to that of previous album? Have you gone heavier or lighter?
"Well the new album is a lot more aggressive, and it is a little bit more darker than the rest of our previous albums and if you compare it to the last album 'Babez For Breakfast' which was or mellowest album or our AOR album, so the leap is rather big from a AOR album to a heavier album. (ED: So why did you record a AOR album in the 1st place?) Well when we wanted to work with Michael Wagner again and wanted to do another hair album, a party album from the 80's and that idea got tossed away pretty quickly."
What new songs stand out for you on the new album and why?
"Well I should say all of them but I really should say that I do like the songs 'I Luv Ugly', 'Am The Best', which has this completely new aggressive energy which we have never had on any of our previous albums. I also like 'Sincerely In Love', I just love the lyrics to that song and I think it will be played at summer festivals and have everybody sing along with us, even if you hate Lordi you will just sing the title with us, it's like a 'fuck you' attitude."
How long did it take to record this album then? What was it also like working with Michael?
"Well we flew to the U.S. in the last days of August in 2011 and I came back at the beginning of November as we recorded in Nashville. He is a great producer and has worked with some pretty big names and has pretty much recorded most of my record collection. Nashville is like the new L.A. for music even though it is the home Country & Western music. Michael actually likes our music and he is great to work with. (ED: Do you have any special guests on the new album?) No not really, we had Mark Slaughter from Slaughter so guessed on the last album but for this album we had no special guests."
As the band has just released their promo video for the song 'Riff', how did it come about in the supper market?
"Well people ask us how we do a video for a song with lyrics like that, well there are 2 ways you can either have the video matching the to lyrics or you do something completely different and I will tell you know the video has nothing to do with the lyrics. It has a chick wearing very little around a supper market & us and zombies with lots of splatter effects in the video. It's just a normal supper market and I am curious to see how it will turn out and how the fans will react to it."
Moving on what's the album reviews been like so far for this album?
"Yes we have been getting lots of positive reviews so far and we have been surprised by it all and the 1st few we have been getting 10/10 so it's all good so far."
Are AFM Records looking after the band and sorting out all the promos, interviews etc....?
"So far it's all been good and everything has been taken care of really good, I am happy."
I have one question for you, as you are on the same label as Gwar would you ever consider doing a tour together? That would be awesome!!
"Well they did ask us if we wanted to tour with them and we said No! I don't think it would be a good tour together because I think we come from 2 different planets and I know what they are getting at and I have the highest respect for them but I don't think it would work somehow. I think the whole angle is completely different as we do this all day & night, we are monsters 24/7 and I am not trying to convince you that I am a big scary monster doing a phone interview right now."
Just before we end the interview what was it like doing the Eurovision Song Contest?
"Well I have no regrets doing it, it was all fun and it did open a lot of new windows for the band & opportunities."
Well Mr Lordi, thanks for taking you're time out and doing the interview, do you have anything to say before we finish?
"Yes please check out the new album & I hope you like it. Come see us live if you can soon."
Thank's to Mike Exley and Mr Lordi for the interview.